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News » Nets-Heat Preview 2009-11-14

Nets-Heat Preview 2009-11-14

Nets-Heat Preview 2009-11-14Facing one of the Eastern Conference's best teams, the Miami Heat failed to set the best start in franchise history.

Getting back on track, though, could be a much simpler task.

Miami continues its five-game homestand Saturday night against a New Jersey Nets team still searching for its first win.

Looking to open 7-1 for the first time, the Heat (6-2) had their three-game winning streak snapped Thursday, falling 111-104 to Cleveland. In a game pitted as Miami's Dwyane Wade versus the Cavaliers' LeBron James, Wade won that All-Star scoring matchup 36-34, but Miami was not able to bounce back after trailing by as many as 11 in the fourth quarter.

Wade, the league's reigning scoring champion, has scored at least 20 points in 21 consecutive games to match his own franchise record. He'll look to break that mark versus the Nets, whom he averaged 33.0 against last season when the Heat won three of four matchups.

While Wade looks to continue his scoring surge, Miami's defense tries to improve from one of its worst efforts of the season. The 111 points Thursday were the most given up this season by the Heat, who are among the league's best, allowing 91.4 per game.

"Giving up 111 points, that's not our style and that's not our identity," coach Erik Spoelstra said after Miami fell to 2-1 on its homestand. "We won't win many games like that."

New Jersey (0-9) would settle for one victory at this point.

Rafer Alston, starting at point guard for the injured Devin Harris, posted his first career triple-double with 17 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds, but the Nets fell 88-72 at Orlando on Friday.

"I just want to win, no matter who it's against," said Alston, who averaged 15.3 points, 4.8 assists and 3.8 boards versus Miami last season while with Houston and the Magic. "We were right there, but we just let go of the rope in the fourth quarter."

New Jersey, one of the league's lowest-scoring teams at 85.0 points per game, has posted 80 or fewer in three straight contests for the first time since Nov. 13-17, 2004.

The injury-ravaged Nets, who are still without Yi Jianlian, Jarvis Hayes, Keyon Dooling, Courtney Lee and Tony Battie, had only nine players available Friday, despite forward Chris Douglas-Roberts returning from a three-game absence with the NBA's first confirmed case of swine flu.

Douglas-Roberts scored five points in 18 minutes.

Heat forward Michael Beasley, second on the team with 13.9 points per game, looks to build off his season-high 24-point outing against Cleveland. He averaged 16.0 points and 5.5 boards against New Jersey during his 2008-09 rookie season.

Second-year center Brook Lopez, who leads the Nets with 17.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, missed 11 of 12 from the field and scored a season-low four points with five boards Friday. He had scored 22 points or more in his previous three games.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 14, 2009


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